When Volunteering is Too Easy: Better Ways to Engage and Activate Employee Volunteers
This year more than most, everyone is terrified to ask their employees to do anything beyond the basics of their jobs. They’re busy, they’re exhausted, they just can’t. “We shouldn’t ask our employees to do more right now. They just don’t have time.” The solution? Just make it easier. Curate the volunteer opportunities, plan the events, send out the awards – and then all employees will have to do is show up, make a difference, feel good, and get back to work. It’s the only way to meet them where they are without canceling volunteering altogether. Right?
Wrong. You’re making it too easy.
Human beings make decisions based on a complicated combination of unconscious influences. Making something easy – or removing barriers to entry – is certainly a factor, but sometimes it’s a factor that makes an offer less attractive – not more – and ultimately causes people to lose interest. So, what does that mean for volunteering and citizenship engagement?
If you want crowds to flock to your programs and you want to get noticed, shape your messaging, guidelines, and processes around what really works. Among the myriad influences that drive people to make decisions, there are three that are immediately applicable to volunteering and citizenship programs: (1) “I participate because others like me are doing it,” (2) “I participate because it reinforces my identity” and (3) “I participate to justify my initial investment.”